Publication Date: December 19, 2012
In Embers: The Foundation by D. Robert Landholt, seventeen-year-old Luke Embers is faced with a tragedy of the magnitude of which no one should ever have to experience. With no clues to the identity of the perpetrators, Luke is forced to leave with his godparents, people he has never met, to a new community. Burning at the back of young Luke’s mind is a sense of what he has lost and making those responsible, pay. Can he reconcile this new Luke or will everything he has loved be lost in the name of revenge [easyazon-link asin=”B00AQSBS0C” locale=”us”]Embers: The Foundation[/easyazon-link] is the first novel in a planned trilogy.
The author, D. Robert Landholt, gave me a copy of this novel in exchange for my review.[easyazon-link asin=”B00AQSBS0C” locale=”us”]Embers: The Foundation[/easyazon-link] is the story of young Luke Embers and how he copes with great loss. Much of the first part of the novel is Luke being a kid. He has parents who love each other, a sister who is affectionate and teasing, and a girlfriend he’s loved since their first kiss when they were both 7-year-olds. As he jokes with his friends, we get a sense of a good kid with a balanced life outlook that is going places. In the second half of the novel, his life has changed. Luke must go to live with guardians he’s never met, in a community much different from his own, all the while burning in his mind are unanswered questions as to why this tragedy befell his family. He has a simmering anger that won’t be satisfied until the right people are made to pay for what they’ve done and can hopefully make Luke understand. Its a risk to shape a character in the way Landholt has done but, in the end, the risk pays off. [easyazon-link asin=”B00AQSBS0C” locale=”us”]Embers: The Foundation[/easyazon-link] is a 244-page novel that hosts a very small cast of characters. Luke is a very fully-developed character. We get him before and after and throughout his struggle to find peace. In a scene late in the novel, he calls Emily his girlfriend, and he can hear people laughing in the background, but he can’t bring himself to bring his darkness on her. This was a poignant moment for the Luke character and one that tells us that through all of what is to come, he has a touchstone to which he’ll come back — not in a romantic way necessarily, but in the way of someone to care about who cares about him and is a grounded connection.
The plotline is fairly direct. Luke is an average kid who faces incredible odds and incredible anger. He goes logically from point A to point B, sometimes in a haze. If your world completely changed in a harsh cruel way, what would you do? What Luke does, takes great planning, but he is not turned into something suddenly which may not have been believable. As with the character, Landholt eases us into the plot.
There are several moments in this novel where I wondered if the author would ever get to the point. Where’s the action? There is action, but there’s a solid foundation to that action and who Luke will become that had to be laid. It all makes sense when the book is closed. What is even more exciting is where Landholt will go next. There are lots of possibilities with the Luke character and all of them are potentially great.
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